Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Many bank executives might admit to the importance of strategy, but Heartland Bank will never consider it vastly more important than culture. Associates like Ethan McNemar, client services and treasury management business analyst, can attest to this as he passionately shares deep-seated emotions behind the ‘why’ of his Heartland story.
“Heartland has given me the opportunity to grow and discover my strengths and improve my weaknesses. I love data; I love automation; I love managing my own projects; I love learning, and I love Heartland Bank,” said Ethan as he explained why his future goals undoubtedly include Heartland Bank. He sees himself starting a development department at Heartland anchoring the team as an automation engineer and building in-house tools on a regular basis.
Ethan’s ultimate goal is the C-suite – and why not? Three of Heartland’s top executives are considered “Heartland homegrown.” CEO Scott McComb was a custodian in several branches at the very beginning of his Heartland career, CFO Carrie Almendinger began her career as a loan processor and COO Ben Babcanec was initially hired as a customer service representative. Ethan shared, “Heartland Bank is a place of prosperous growth of not only our shareholders and clients, but also our staff. So, when your favorite teller or banker gets promoted, fret not, as they are part of the proud tradition of being Heartland homegrown.”
Ethan is also Central Ohio grown – born and raised in Grove City then attended the University of Dayton’s Miriam School of Business. In college, he was elected to be the president of the University of Dayton Social Justice Club his freshman year, growing a volunteer organization from 5 students to over 100 in just three and a half years. Ethan is back in school studying for his Specialized Master’s in Business Analytics from The Ohio State University.
Regarding his career at Heartland, Ethan was hired as a Client Services Analyst. “I was (and still am) tasked with reconciling our client’s incoming requests via phone, chat and other client channels on a monthly, and even sometimes hourly, basis. I really loved the research and creating reports that run automatically.” As his expertise grew, he was promoted to Clients Services and Treasury Management Business Analyst.
“But I don’t feel titles fully define my role. Not only am I responsible for reporting for the Client Services Department, the Treasury Management Department, and the Virtual Branch, but because I am a Microsoft recognized power champion, I am also responsible for building and maintaining several automation projects around the bank. I often volunteer my time to collaborate with other departments - Retail, Marketing and Operations to name a few. On any given day, I could be working on an automated email alert, and the next I could be creating a power business intelligence model for a pipeline for Operations, and the next, I could be building an app for Nancy Matney (my manager). Suffice it to say, there is NEVER a dull moment.”
Is this overwhelming to new associates? Maybe, but Ethan advises, “Be patient, especially if you’re coming from another financial institution; the way Heartland works might seem alien to you. While change might seem slow, it is happening, and YOU have several opportunities to be a part of that change. Heartland has survived over 110 years by fostering a process that incorporates all parties - this makes sure that all voices are heard. How many businesses have their CEO, CFO and COO tour each branch and talk to every department every year? There is something special about that.” He is obviously confident that the contributions he is making are noticed, well-received and valued.
Fortunately, Ethan balances all his job duties with a vast array of outside interests. “I like hiking, and I hope to start my first stretch of the Appalachian trail in 2023. I love cooking, and my favorite dishes are Indian and Mediterranean. I like to boat - I have my Michigan boating license, and we love taking our tri-toon out on the lake. I also enjoy hockey - my family has been season ticket holders for the Columbus Blue Jackets since its inception. Then there’s football. Of course, living in Columbus, I was raised to eat, sleep and breathe Scarlet and Gray. (My family owns Arlington Optical. Because my father used to work with the OSU Department of Ophthalmology, our family has been taking care of the glasses for all the OSU coaches since Woody Hayes!) I love playing chess; I picked it up in college, and I always have a game running behind the scenes. I also love learning and studying; I often say that I will be in school forever, or at least learning. If that’s not enough, I am also a proud and active uncle of my niece and nephew; they are always there to brighten up my week!”
Ethan’s passion for life and Heartland is admirable. Associates like Ethan give meaning to this very poignant quote that he ends with, “It’s no coincidence that our clients are also our friends, families and neighbors.” Do you get this from your banking relationship? Come on over to Heartland to join the family!